No, There Was No Public Offering Made (Letter to the Editor)

In attempting to defend Massachusetts’s censorship of hedge-fund speech to the public, Mike Liles Jr. (Letters, Jan. 22) makes a circular argument that mischaracterizes my article’s position in “Financial Info: Banned in Boston” (op-ed, Jan. 6). He says that while Bulldog Investors “has an absolute constitutionally protected right to post on its website information about the fund’s performance and philosophy,” it can’t “make a public offering over the Internet.”

The point of my op-ed is that Bulldog was not making any type of offer to sell securities to the general public on its site. Massachusetts, however, has broadly defined “offering” to include the posting of basic information about the fund that could, in the state’s words, “arouse public interest in the particular securities.”

Neither Mr. Liles nor Massachusetts officials can wish the First Amendment away by labeling every piece of information which a hedge fund disseminates as an unregistered “public offering.”